Monday, November 14, 2011

Leon at The Grove yesterday.  I swear we wouldn't dare go near The Grove on a hectic weekend but I really wanted to check out Sur La Table for some goodies.  
Of course the place was packed with people- kids and dogs, you name it... everyone was there.   Leon was a happy camper though-  his cookie and walking around examining cracks on the pavement kept him busy.  
I love spending the whole day with him.  It seems I've been so busy lately- juggling catering events and mommy duties.  Days like yesterday are so precious.  We really had nowhere to be and no one to meet- Leon and I just spent quality time together.   

Monday, October 24, 2011

fondant flowers

My very first shot at making edible flowers out of fondant/gum paste .....

It was a very time consuming and yet a very rewarding experience for me.  Running Belly Bliss Catering and knocking out dishes in the kitchen is so different from making these.  I had to be in a relaxing and calm zone to make sure everything was just right.  I loved the zen like experience.  From kneading the fondant,  rolling it out at just the correct density, cutting, molding and putting the finishing touches- having to take the time and take in every step was a good change of pace.  Oh and waiting 24 hours for the flowers to harden even added to the anticipation.

I knew I had to start with the simplest flower to make- which I was advised is the Dogwood flower.  My first try was a bit rough but just like anything- practice and patience was all it took.  I'm a total beginner and is so excited to create other lovely pieces.  

These Dogwoods are going to be cupcake toppers for an event this weekend.  I can't wait to take pictures.

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Friday, September 30, 2011

Yellow Balloon

Leon's first salon hair cut was a total success!  I expected it to be a total bust and was so delighted that it turned out to be fun for both of us.  The Yellow Balloon and their wonderful staff helped so much.  They put Leon at ease by giving him all the time he needed to play with tons of their awesome toys.  He had such a great time it took me forever to get him out of the salon.  

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Playtime in the yard has been very essential now that Leon is a full pledged toddler.  Mario- our gardener who is the sweetest guy- created a safe space for Leon to play.  I described to him what I envisioned for an open space and he really came through.  He even built a large sand box where Leon spends lots of time pouring sand and water in and out of his dump truck.  I'm still on the lookout for used items such as a slide and a trampoline.  I'm so excited for the space to come together!

We enjoyed a nice healthy dinner at Tender Greens in West Hollywood

Leon's grandma- Joanie or "Mimi" as her grandkids lovingly call her, is in town visiting and we are all smiles.  So happy to spend time with her and so wonderful to see Leon love her.  Grandma comes out to LA every 3-4 months to spend time with us and we video chat on Skype as much as we can.  We could all tell that Leon recognizes Joanie and it took very little time for him to warm up to her.  We have Mimi all the way until Monday- yay!

the boy who brings us so much joy

Two weeks shy of 18 months full of laughter and curiosity.  In just 6 months he will be turning two- WOW.  

Wearing his adorable Ugg boots to keep his footsies warm in the mornings

He has been enjoying being read to more than ever and we are both having a great time.  He is naked in the picture because we were trying to get him in the tubby before bed time.

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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

These are cupcakes we served from our catered event the past Saturday.  

Some other items on the menu were:  penne with shrimp & roasted veggies, greens with currants, pecans, roasted corn and jicama in a green goddess dressing, chicken meatballs garnished with melted mozzarella and cherry tomatoes and mac and cheese mini muffins topped with garlic crumbs and crumbled turkey bacon.  

Our classic red velvets with chocolate covered sunflower seeds as garnish

double vanilla cupcake with a strawberry balsamic reduction sauce and a strawberry slice as garnish

a flower arrangement made by my dear friend Monica.  Thank you!

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Leon the swimmer

Leon's first ever swimming class was A LOT of fun.  He had the biggest smile as soon as he and I got in the pool.  I thought he would be a bit scared being in a huge pool for the first time but he did great.  He showed total confidence until the instructor used him as an example and submerged his head in the water unexpectedly.  Of course he got frightened and from then on- he was stuck on mama like glue and expectedly so- he began to get scared of the instructor.  Lucky for us- the instructor was only subbing that day.  I'm hoping the gal who teaches the class regularly will be gentler.
I love our local YMCA.  There are so many activities for young kids and a lot of workout options that I find so appealing.  The other day I took a Zumba class- my first ever.  I shook my 'lil booty like it was no ones business and I had a blast.  So much fun while working out!
The photo above was taken by Chris before we left home for the class.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

dessert party

Here are some pictures from a dessert party we catered last Saturday.  It was a success!  Everyone oooh and aaaaah'd over all the delicious sweets.  All the hard work was definitely rewarded by happy faces- and satisfied bellies.  

chocolate fountain surrounded by various treats for dipping- fresh strawberries and bananas, rice krispies,  marshmallows, butter cookies, salted pretzels, angel food cake bits, mini donuts.  Butterscotch pudding layered with crumbled sea salt chocolate cookies in individual trifles.

assorted cookies  (some vegan) -  and in the chafing dish are three kinds of ice cream sandwiches.  We placed dry ice in the chafing dish to keep the sandwiches frozen.  It worked like a charm!

Now that Leon is down to one nap a day, he and I are always looking for something fun and exciting to fill our day.  We went to The Grove the other day, did some window shopping and Leon played with water by their little fountain.  He really LOVES the water.  I should start looking into some swimming classes for him.

so much for the TP

It's hard to get upset at Leon even when he unrolls an entire roll of toilet paper.  He came out of the bathroom so happy and proud of himself with toilet paper wrapped all over himself.  It was so adorable.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

sweets surround me!

Literally!  I've been in sugar, chocolate, whipped cream and cookie heaven ever since I started working on my current catering job- a dessert party.

mini trifle- butterscotch pudding layered with sea salt chocolate chip cookies

safe to eat "raw" cookie dough topped with a mini chocolate chip cookie

It's always so much fun whenever I can express creativity through food.  More photos to come!

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Get Goopy

Get Goopy at WonderKids from Anna Cherubini on Vimeo.

I created this video from today's Get Goopy workshop at Leon's daycare.  Every little one (except Leon)  was having so much fun making a mess.  All kinds of sticky stuff everywhere and no adult saying no or cleaning up.  FUN.

Leon wasn't sure about all the sticky goo.  He dipped his hand in wet cornstarch and looked up at me immediately with a "this is gross" look on his face.  I'm learning plenty about him as the days go by.

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

it smells like bread!

I've been obsessed with baking lately.  It's often sparked by my disappointment of baked goods I buy from the store.  The so-so quality and taste of what is readily available in grocery shelves motivate me to bake, make it better and use fresh, high quality and organic ingredients if possible.

Not only are the results so much better in taste- it also turns out to be cheaper than buying from the store and preservative free.  You can't lose so if you have the time- definitely try making it yourself.

Almond Vanilla Biscotti

Chocolate Chip Biscotti

Artisan Rosemary Bread

me- very proud of my freshly baked rosemary loaves

I have a feeling this is just the beginning of my baking adventures.  More to come!

A current photo of my sweet boy.  He is more and more active each day, literally getting into everything and climbing everywhere.  It's a fun and very scary stage we are in at the moment.  I tend to underestimate his abilities still thinking that he is just a baby.  Time and time again he proves me wrong.  We were at Target the other day, I placed him securely in the cart with the safety straps on.  As I was pushing the cart along the isle he reached out and was able to pull a glass container off the shelf.  It shattered all over the floor!  I checked him immediately to make sure he didn't have any cuts and thank goodness he was fine.  I had a little cut on my leg that I felt later on.  Man, I have got to get with the program.  My 'lil Leon is growing up and is not so little anymore.

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

coming to terms

I'm not exactly sure how old I was in the picture.  I'm guessing 5 or 6 years old.  Even as a kid I was already good at posing for the camera- so funny.

I often find myself marveling at Leon.  I love to watch him play and do silly things with his toys.  He is so innocent and pure.  When he smiles or laughs- it's genuine, you know the joy is coming right from his heart.  I realized that I was once that kid. I was full of life and fearless.

I've learned so much in the last 12 years of living on my own in LA.  It's as if I had to be taken so far away from Manila- a place I used to call home- to unfold, to mature and to make peace with myself.  I can't  describe my childhood as troubled, but I can definitely recall that there were more unhappy times than good ones.  My parents separated when I was 5 years old.  It must have been a very traumatic experience because to this day I have a clear memory of the day my parents had a huge fight that led to my dad leaving our home.  I was 5, my older sister Pia was 8 and my 'lil sister Vanessa was just about to turn 2.  I remember very vivid scenes- my mama was so angry she pulled our "old school" rotary telephone so hard that she yanked the cord right out of the wall socket and off the phone went flying right to my papa's direction.  I even remember looking at luggages filled with my papa's clothes as he was taking off.  We were right in the middle of dinner when the argument began and my mama got a hold of another object to throw but this time whatever it was landed right into a big bowl of food.  I remember food splashed at us kids.  I was terrified and confused.  If I could reach out to that little girl I would hold her tight, tell her she is loved and that I will never let anything bad happen to her.
That was the beginning of me not feeling safe.  Ever since then I thought I had to be a certain way to be accepted and loved.  Somehow my parents separation taught me that who I genuinely am was not enough.

Here I am about to turn 33 in a month with a family of my own away from Manila and yet the memory of that day brings an enormous sadness in my heart.  The collapse of my parents relationship took a toll in all of us but most especially amongst myself and my sisters.  Being raised in a Filipino family where confrontation was considered tactless and unnecessary- all these hurt feelings were never brought to the surface.  As a result I grew up and went on with my life without the peace that only genuine forgiveness and understanding can bring.

From 5 years old until I finished college and left for the US-  my parents held on to the bitterness, anger and dismissal of each other.  The huge fight I remember like it was yesterday was only the beginning of a long stand off between my parents.  My papa remained a provider- paid for everything we needed but was never around.  He never saw me go to a high school dance, never met boys I had crushes on and those I dated and worst- he was never around on birthdays.  I didn't have a father figure- which later in my life- explained the many mistakes I made in my relationships as a young woman.

My mama did the best she can.  She was probably around her early 30's when her marriage fell apart already with three little girls.  Going through what she did would break anyone down.  I appreciate her more now than ever since I now know what it is like to be a mom.  I knew she went on with her life with a broken heart even though she did her best to bury the pain she felt.  Growing up I had hoped that she would be more affectionate and more open about her feelings.  I often wondered why she never told me or my sisters that she loved us.  Hearing her actually tell me she loved me back when I needed to hear it the most would have made me feel safe.  Maybe if I had then I would have not tried so hard to gain affection somewhere else other than home.
I realize that we all live with our own individual burdens- most of it dumped to us by our parents but regardless- everyday we're given the opportunity to overcome our issues.

The day I stopped blaming my parents was also the day I felt peace.  I had to be completely honest with myself, dig down to make sense of the past, forgive myself for past mistakes, to let go and really live in the moment.

I learned that being a mother is so powerful.  I am raising a man who will hopefully have a family of his own one day.  I want him to grow up observing a mother who loves him so much and is not afraid to tell him she loves him so.  I want to earn his respect so that he would show the same value towards every other woman in his life.  I want him to understand that his mom is passionate about her work and that working towards a goal he believes in will bring him fulfillment and purpose.

My parents' experience also taught me that marriage is not always easy and that there are times when it takes hard work to keep it together.  I feel so fortunate to have a partner who sees and accepts me for who I am.  We communicate so openly and we respect each other.  Both of us came from broken families and so we are both determined to make what we have last a lifetime.  I admire Chris as a father and he is my best friend.  No matter what comes our way- as long as we're both willing we can get past any hurdle together as a team.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

We've been cooking up lots of pancakes at home.  Turns out Leon is a huge fan.  Mama has been loading it up with fresh blueberries, bananas and strawberries.  The plate pictured above was for Chris.  No maple syrup yet for the 'lil one.  

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Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

First time on the bike for Leon.  I was nervous at first but as soon as we got going I felt more and more comfortable.  Extra cautious though- the entire time.  Life as a mom has definitely turned me into someone who drives a little slower than I used to.  My little ones safety is the top priority.

Attended a block party in Studio City right by the CBS lot.  Wish we could have stayed longer.  
Thanks Dave for inviting us in your neighborhood!  We had lots of fun.